The Fantasy Football playoffs are right around the corner. In dynasty leagues, this creates the best opportunity to acquire players, especially if your league has a trade deadline, for teams that didn’t make the playoffs. This isn’t a time to lick your wounds and think about what if. Instead, it’s time to lay foundations for your playoff team for next season. Many teams haven’t put in the time to look into situations, free agency, or the NFL Draft, and that creates an opportunity for you to capitalize.
The following players are buy-low candidates who will likely increase their value for the 2023 season. However, each league is its own economy, and every team owner has their own opinions. Don’t overpay. Most of the players listed aren’t going to feel good acquiring, and that’s the point. Fantasy football is about points and not about feelings, which is why you’re going to gain value.
Matt Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
After winning the Super Bowl, I don’t think anyone could’ve imagined this level of collapse from the Rams in 2022. Stafford came into the season injured and only became more injured as the year went on, which concluded with a season-ending trip to the injured reserve list. Stafford had his worst QB rating since the 2014 season and saw his passing touchdowns drop by 31. The Rams will be better next year, and Stafford should have better health. Now a chance exists that Stafford can’t recover, but that should be priced into his value. Stafford is a better buy in superflex leagues than standard.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals may be moving on from Kliff Kingsbury this offseason, and it should be good news for the development of Kyler Murray, who has the worst passer rating of his entire career. Murray is a more talented player than many realize, and a new coach should cater the offense to his strengths. If this happens, then we’re seeing one of the best buy-low opportunities of Murray’s career.
Zach Wilson, New York Jets
This is one of those situations I described in the introduction that doesn’t feel good, but the value is there to be had. Mike White, just like Bailey Zappe, came back to earth after a short run of success. He threw two interceptions that could have easily been more and posted a 59.8 QB rating. This week the Jets play the Buffalo Bills, and White could have a similar type of game. If that’s the case, they could return to Wilson to end the season playing the soft defenses of Detroit and Jacksonville. Wilson is going to get another opportunity in his time with the Jets, and they have lots of wide receiver talent to help him gain confidence. In superflex leagues, Wilson could be acquired cheaply, which is a low-risk proposition.
Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos
Here’s another Wilson situation that feels wrong to acquire, but it’s the best opportunity. Wilson’s contract gave him $161 million dollars guaranteed, which means the Broncos can’t move on from him. The most likely scenarios of moving on from Wilson would be from 2025-2027. The fantasy football community has lost hope, which makes his price cheap in a trade. He earned a 99 QB rating or higher in two of his last three games. In the last four seasons, Wilson earned a 103 QB rating or higher and never earned lower than a 92 QB rating over a season. Things will improve in Denver and for Wilson, but will you get him on your team in time?
Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns
The first game back for Deshaun Watson didn’t meet expectations with a 53.4 QB rating and 131 passing yards. Many should’ve expected him to have rust because he hasn’t played in a regular season game for a year and a half. However, Watson was a top-three quarterback in the last season he played football. Whether he returns to that form in 2022 or 2023 is irrelevant because he should return to top form soon. Some may not want to own him due to the off-the-field stuff. In the fantasy football lens, Watson is very valuable, and this might be the last time to buy low on Watson.
Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
Harris went from a rookie darling to a sophomore-season panic for many people. The foot injury to start the season as Harris averaged fewer than four yards per carry in six of his initial seven games. However, he’s averaged four yards per carry or better in four of his last five games. In those contests, Harris has earned his three best rushing yardage totals on the season and three of his four rushing touchdowns. The arrow is pointing up for Harris, but have his owners caught on? He’s a big back who can play all three downs on the field and near the goal line. I would generate some offers or conversations to see the price tag for Najee Harris in your leagues.
James Cook, Buffalo Bills
While James Cook has had double-digit carry games in two of the last three weeks, Devin Singletary has had them in six of his last seven games. Cook getting more involved rushing and taking over most of the pass catching work is a positive trend for his fantasy value. But the main reason he’s a buy-low is that Singletary is a free agent this offseason. While it’s possible he could re-sign with the Bills, my guess is they reinvest that money into other parts of their team. This would create a huge opportunity for Cook, and the fantasy football value would follow.
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